Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 weeks and 5 precepts week 1

Those of you who know me, also know that I react to signs. If something crosses my path more than three times or I also use feathers for signs, but either way I got a sign. Something crossed my path now three times and I finally stopped to listen and decided to share it with you. It is not something new, but I recognize it was something I had forgotten.

I also recognize that there is a possibility that it may offend you or not be in your spiritual belief system. I invite you to read on any how and see how similar it is to whatever believe system you have. I have had "The Five Wonderful Precepts" cross my path and over the next five weeks will be sharing each of the five with you and invite discussion with you on these. Please remember as you share your thoughts, that you do not pass judgment on someones belief or try to force your belief on someone. It is a non-biased conversation about a spiritual belief. Maybe offer a similar belief in your spiritual practice.

Buddha gave us the five precepts as kind of a way to live, but they are not considered to be the Buddhist version of the ten Commandments, but ways of which to live our lives and in using a Buddhist term reach Nirvana. This is the simple way of describing without getting into a whole discussion of several other Buddhist concepts that it has been considered connected to.

The version of the precepts I will use are taken from Thich Nhat Hanh after a retreat in 1991, replacing the do not's from the original version to a more positive affirming phrase. Though I will include the original form.
" 1. Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, and plants. i am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking and in my way of life.
Original Sanskrit and direct translation version:
"1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life. "

This is kind of obvious on some point in that for us all to live in harmony we recognize all sentient beings as having feelings and deserving of respect. A sentient being is someone who is able to feel, basically any creature living or breathing. In Buddhism plants and trees are considered sentient.

In short, we watch after each other and help each other and all of God's creatures out wherever we are able. Remembering that as humans and thinking beings, often times those around us have to go through their own path in life, even though it may be difficult to watch. It is their karmic path for this life, we just offer what we can
We pass this love and compassion and respect onto our pets and family and even friends. One sentient being we often forget is ourselves. Interestingly enough, it took me almost 10 years to realize this myself. Even though I had been practicing non-violence toward others (The practice used by Martin Luther King and by Ghandi)it was not until I was reading a book, until I realized that the compassion I gave others, I was not giving myself. I put myself down, did not give myself the same level of respect I gave others, although I was and am just as deserving. So remember that as a sentient being you have all the right to treat yourself with compassion, love and understanding that you give others.

This is the first of five precepts. All as kind of a "lesson plan" for living a more fulfilled life. I hope you enjoy this glance at the five precepts and it helps you to look at places in your life where you might be able to enrich you and brighten the light within you.

Peace and joy,


  1. This was sent via email:
    I learned something very special about the word "killing." I was studying the 10 commandments and we all talked about how none of us had "killed" anyone or anything. Oh, how our pride, stood out like a peacock in full array. Before the sesson was over we all realized we "kill" every day. I think Budda, like Jesus, and other spiritual leaders want us to know that we kill when we use our words and thoughts in unkind, unpeaceful, uncompassionate ways. We kill each other when we gossip, when we slander another, and we kill each other and all creation when we allow to happen what is happening with dog fighting, pollution, war, child and adult porn, and any other thing that does not seek to protect and reconcile the entire creation back to the creator! I look forward to the next 4 weeks. Deb

  2. You're comment reminded me Deb of a Native American saying...How often do we lose respect because we see so much killing and hear so many unkind things and see so many acts void of compassion? Why do we look the other way?

    Honor the sacred.
    Honor the Earth, our Mother.
    Honor the Elders.
    Honor all with whom we
    share the Earth:-
    Four-leggeds, two-leggeds,
    winged ones,
    Swimmers, crawlers,
    plant and rock people.
    Walk in balance and beauty.

    Native American Elder